Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting Around to It Eventually

I finally made it down to the Missionaries of Charity! It has been so long (much to my embarassment) since I've been down to volunteer. The summer camp I attempted to help with last week was no longer elusive. The weather cooled off dramatically, I knew where I was going, and cloudy skies hung overhead. All the kids were absolutely adorable and of course the MC Sisters just glowed with the joy of Jesus!

I couldn't stay the entire day, and excused myself after lunch to attend a meeting I had with a local parish priest. During my bike ride back I felt a lift in my soul. Too often I count "volunteering" and "doing service" as helping at Mass and those tasks I have to perform for my job. Anyone who works for the Catholic Church falls into this at some point. Regardless, helping out at Mass or working for the Church is no substitute for going that extra mile and getting out in direct service of someone's basic needs, taking care of a child, spending time with the elderly, serving Christ in the poorest of the poor. Living the Christian life involves this basic love. In order to be as sucessful as possible and lead the faithful more adequately at Mass in music, I must take that time to serve in this basic but often neglected area of spirituality.

I finally learned some interesting news about the new translation of the Mass working through all different levels of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops have met in San Antonio recently and NONE of the numerous translations for various kinds of Masses have been approved, a two-thirds majority being required before they are sent to the Vatican. I had no idea this kind of process was required or even going on. I figured it was a done deal. "The Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life", however, has been approved. Raymond Arroyo speaks more about it in an entry of his blog Seen and Unseen, on the EWTN website. He also talks about the continuing Notre Dame scandal.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Godless Marriages

I have recently gotten my PC-laptop back after a hard drive replacement. My home page is still set to MSNBC so after returning from a Sunday afternoon party, I found an article on marriage by Sandra Tsing Loh: Let's Call the Whole Thing off. Basically she sees no point to marriage anymore. I also watched the interview video from the Today Show. (That link will be scattered throughout the article.) If you are reading this, then you know me and my (and the Catholic Church's) views on marriage and family, unless you've randomly stumbled upon this site by some miracle. In that case, let me send you to a site that will give you some valuable information: Try this.

What I noticed from both the article and the video: I found no reference to God, a Supreme Being, or anything in marriage that is outside of the couple and their own emotions. The article and video never reached beyond erotic love. Marriage was apparently an institution for the convenience of agrarian societies and not a commitment to another person under the mastery of the Divine Lover.

The closing paragraph of this obnoxiously long article reads:

In any case, here’s my final piece of advice: avoid marriage — or you too may suffer the emotional pain, the humiliation, and the logistical difficulty, not to mention the expense, of breaking up a long-term union at midlife for something as demonstrably fleeting as love.

As Catholics, this is what we're up against in bringing the Gospel of Jesus to the world. The world's acceptance of love as "demonstrably fleeting", I believe is the beginning of the end. No love of neighbor, friend, parent, sibling, spouse...or God...could ever exist. What we rely on deep in our human nature, no one will believe can last forever.

Let us stay close to the Sacrament of Love, Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lover, in the Holy Eucharist. Let us love one another as He has loved us.

Now to lighten your mood so you may bring joy to the world: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

We are united in the Hearts (and Love!) of Jesus and Mary!

Monday, June 22, 2009

When Our Best Just Isn't Enough

I woke up this morning really excited...

I had made all the preparations last night. I was going to volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity for the first time in a long time! They are doing a summer camp this week and next at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church. I called, got an address, did a mapquest, was all set. So I thought.

I got off work at about 11, grabbed a quick lunch, and prepared for a 20 minute bike ride to Victoria Avenue in Saint Paul. It's the hottest day of the year so far and there is no such thing as a dry heat in Minnesota, but it's all for the Lord! I get down to where the map says I should go, get all excited, and find there is no church on the corner of Victoria and 7th. Hmm...

Well, I figure I could go back to Victoria North and try there. That required me to go all the way down 7th street nearly to downtown and up the huge Grand Avenue hill. Up and down every inch of Victoria and I can't find the church. At this point, I had been out in the brutal midday sun for nearly an hour and a half. My high-latitude Irish skin just couldn't take it anymore so I decide to call it a day.

After downing cup after cup of water I go back to the internet to find where I went wrong.

It turns out the church is on Virginia not Victoria.

So close (in distance not just name) and yet so far.

And so I struggle on. At some point in these next two weeks, St. Vincent DePaul will no longer be elusive. In the mean time, some soul must have really been ready to get out of Purgatory. What else can you do but offer it up. At least someone will get something out of my sunburn.

We are United in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Year of the Priest

The Year of the Priest has begun with Solemn Vespers at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome! The event involved a relic of St. John Mary Vianney who will be declared the patron saint of all priests during this year.

May all the Faithful come together to pray for our priests and a strengthening of vocations to all religious life.

Today is also the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is a day to reflect on the love Jesus has poured out for us in the Salvific Act. This heart, pierced by the lance in today's Gospel bore the pain that had been destined for us. May be grow more closely to His Sacred Heart and become more like Him day by day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Corpus Christi

This year's Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, yesterday, June 14, 2009, marks the fourth anniversary liturgically of my blog. While all entries aren't visible, I am reflective about the past four years...where I've come and how far I have left to go.

During Father Rutten's homily at 10am Mass on campus, I thought about how poignant it is to put this feast and the tradition of a Eucharistic Procession where it is in the Liturgical Year. Over the course of a year, we experience all of Salvation History. It begins in Advent not only preparing for the Feast of the Nativity, but exploring the very beginning of the Bible. All too quickly the year passes and brings us up through the Paschal Mystery and Pentecost. Yesterday, we celebrate the Church of today...bringing Christ out into the world by means of Eucharistic Procession, witnessing to Him as we were taught 2,000 years ago.

Throughout the summer we celebrate the leftover mysteries that didn't fit particularly well...but they are anything but leftover! Saints feasts, the Assumption, the Triumph of the Holy Cross, All Saints and Souls Days, etc.

I attended the Archdiocesan Procession from The Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Residence to the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Saint Paul, Minnesota. After thirteen years, the bugs had all been worked out and I was duly impressed with how smooth the whole event ran. Bishop-Elect Lee Piche presided over the procession, a poignant beginning to his episcopacy. (He is officially consecrated on June 29...more to come.)

All praise and glory be to Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar!


The Year of the Priest begins Friday overlapping with the Year of Saint Paul for 11 days. What am I going to do with my blog banner? Time to get creative.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lessons of Solitude and Silence

Summer has arrived in the minds of most people if not astrologically. This constitutes my first summer not being entirely at home. Along with continuing to move into the world, there are many changed going on around me.

My mind is a blur...my brother graduated high school...I have made two trips home in the past month and will possibly make another in the next few weeks...my whole life pattern has flipped for the summer from class, homework, and more homework to work and research...the landscape of my campus is changing with the demolition of two buildings and construction of new athletic and student centres...

I have been on my own more than usual. I have no roommate right now and I am slowly adjusting and learning to enjoy the solitude and silence. In fact, it seems exactly what I need. I get back to my dorm room...I don't have a TV...I don't have a radio or CD player that works...my laptop was sent in to get its harddrive replaced...what am I supposed to do with all this silence?

Pray. Contemplate. Be in God's Presence. Read a book. Go for a walk. Liesure. This is exactly what I have been dreaming about in class during the semester. It is finally here and I don't know what to do with myself. Society is too fast-paced; it's too filled with constant distraction.


And so I am learning to just sit and be. I'm learning to waste time with others. I'm learning to take advantage of the moment and live in it. I am learning to constantly put my heart in the Presence of the Sacred Heart. These summer lessons are the most important and best ones I will ever learn.